The world's largest saltwater crocodile in captivity has died, sending villagers to tears in the backwater southern Philippine town that had started to draw tourists, revenue and development because of the immense reptile.
The crocodile had been blamed for deadly attacks on people before it was captured in 2011 and sent to live at an eco-tourism park that was built to house the giant. The reptile quickly became a star attraction of marshy Bunawan, a far-flung town of 37,000 people in Agusan del Sur province about 515 miles (830 kilometres) southeast of Manila.
The 1-ton crocodile flipped over with a bloated stomach Sunday and the veterinarian declared it dead a few hours later, Bunawan town Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said. It had been estimated at more than 50 years old, Elorde said. Authorities will try to determine the cause of death.
Guinness World Records had proclaimed it the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity last year, measuring the giant at 20.24 feet (6.17 metres). The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile that measured more than 17 feet (5 metres) and weighed nearly a ton.
Veterinarian Alex Collantes said he and park personnel tried to revive the crocodile by immersing it in lukewarm water, adding that unusually cold weather this month may have affected the crocodile. Its death sent its caretaker and some villagers that gathered at the park to tears, he said.